Kate Gibbs in her Mountain Hub office. Photo by Katie Watt

Diverseabilities a teachable opportunity for Invermere entrepreneur

Kate Gibbs shares about inclusion within the school system

By Katie Watt


Kate Gibbs has lived her whole life with Cerebral Palsy (CP). The unique perspective that she gained from living with the condition is one of the many things helping to fuel her new project. Recently, Ms. Gibbs began delivering presentations to educators within Rocky Mountain School District #6, about people like herself who live with disabilities. While most people cannot share Ms. Gibb’s experience, they can definitely learn from it, and learn to help others too.

In her presentations, Ms. Gibbs talks about four main ideas: how to teach students with special needs, how to involve them, how to connect with them, and how to interact with parents. Many of the topics she shares are drawn from the reservoir of her own experience.

To Ms. Gibbs, a diversability (a term she uses often to describe the spectrum of disabilities) impacts much more than a person’s biology.

“CP doesn’t just affect me physically: it has affected the experiences I’ve had and the relationships I’ve made. It has affected everything in my life,” she says. “It’s said over and over again that people with diversabilities want to be seen like everyone else. But that can set such a standard and make us feel like we have to be able to do what everyone else can. For me, I’ve never liked to ignore the fact that I have CP because it has brought so much into my life.”

So far, Ms. Gibbs has given three presentations to teachers and special education aids within the school district. She stresses that the presentations are important for people living with and without diversabilities.

The idea for the project popped into Ms. Gibbs’ head randomly, but she was very eager to pursue it.

“When you have a diversability, you get a lot of attention and help, and the focus is on you. I feel like I’m always saying thank you; I love all the help I’m receiving, but it’s so nice to give help too.” Ms. Gibbs said also that she’s always loved school, and has had a lot of respect for teachers and aids, and this is her way of giving back to them.

Ms. Gibbs is involved with Access the Valley, but this project is separate from that.

“This is the first bigger thing that I’ve thought up on my own. My friends have been supporting me the whole time, and they push me to keep going.”

While Ms. Gibbs says the feeling of educating others about diversabilities is amazing, she has reservations about one thing in particular.

“Every diversability is on a spectrum. Since I have moderate case of CP, sometimes it feels weird to be representing a whole bunch of other diversabilities; I just want to feel like I’m doing a good job of that.”

Her potential solution to this, however, is bringing guest speakers to her presentations to represent a wider variety of diversabilities.

Adding guest speakers to her presentations isn’t all Ms. Gibbs is aiming for in the future. She would like to continue giving presentations to teachers, but she would also like to become more involved with students as well, and maybe even expand her presentations to other school districts. Very far down the line, she hopes to be a mentor, she says, offering the example of her being an aid to students with CP by helping them navigate the tricky path of school that she managed to chart over the years.

If you are interested in learning more about Ms. Gibbs’ presentations or to book her for an inclusion workshop, phone 250-342-1552 or email katesinclusionworkshops@gmail.com.

Just Posted

New on-reserve housing for Akisqnuk

Six-plex first of 28 units to be built; first new homes in 25+ years

Slocan Ramblers mosey into town

CV Arts presents Slocan Ramberls Thursday, March 28th

Seniors association advocates for Valley health

Letter-writing campaign underway now

Market move placed on hold

Invermere market will remain in current 6th Ave. location for now

Family loses everything in Canal Flats trailer fire

GoFund me page started for the Soucy family

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Most Read